December 15th, 2022

Which Sustainable Chemistry innovations can benefit Agriculture? The International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) launched its new call for applications for the next ISC3 Innovation Challenge endowed with 25,000 EUR in total. The ISC3 Innovation Challenge 2023 addresses innovators from around the world who are active in developing innovative solutions linked to Sustainable Chemistry and Agriculture.

Contest applications will be accepted from 0:00 a.m. (CET) December 15th, 2022 until 0:00 a.m. (CEST) April 3, 2023 at the latest.

“Since the transformation of the chemical sector plays a key role towards achieving most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we want to attract, award and promote Sustainable Chemistry innovators and their original solutions through the ISC3 Innovation Challenge,”
says Dr. Alexis Bazzanella, Director ISC3 Innovation Hub.

The fourth Innovation Challenge 2023 calls for innovations in the field of Sustainable Chemistry and Agriculture with the following subtopics:

  • Fertilizers: efficient use of organic and inorganic fertilizers; avoidance of over-fertilization with potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus; supply and use of alternative fertilizers and further solutions for replenishing soil fertility and maintaining or re-establishing soil health (incl. CO2 sequestration)
  • Nutrient recovery in soil, plants, feedstocks, products, etc. (such as secondary nutrients in plants, e.g.)
  • Precision farming: use of digitalisation and automation for resource efficient farming; point application of fertilizers, pesticides and water
  • Crop protection: production and use of natural biocides /biopesticides; benign substitutes for pesticides; biocide leasing as business model
  • Water: Intelligent water supply; water harvesting, avoidance of water contamination with fertilizers
  • Renewable energy and agriculture: use for desalination to provide fresh water; ammonia synthesis with green hydrogen
  • Valorisation of agricultural waste: circularity approaches in agriculture
  • Shelf-life extension solutions for fruits, vegetables, seeds, etc.
  • Solutions fostering reduced externalized costs (biodiversity loss, drinking water pollution, soil compaction, erosion, etc.)

Innovations targeting the development of genetically modified seeds, GMO crops etc. are explicitly excluded from the scope of this challenge.

Finalists selected by the international jury after second stage of the application procedure will receive access to the customized support within the ISC3 Global Start-up Service as well as pitch training, networking possibilities and visibility via the ISC3 communication channels.

The ISC3 Global Start-up Service is the world´s first program to offer comprehensive support to innovators in Sustainable Chemistry. The unique program supports start-ups based on their needs and provides direct access to talent, experts and stakeholders, bringing relevant stakeholders together to find the right solutions.

The winner of the Innovation Challenge 2023 will be awarded a monetary prize of 15,000 EUR. In addition, the winners of two further categories, namely “Best Social Impact” and “Best Regional Impact”, will receive monetary prizes of 5,000 EUR each. All three winners will also gain digital award credentials including a blockchain-based certificate and badge.

Proposals submitted by innovators and entrepreneurs from the global South, and proposals tackling challenges in developing countries are particularly encouraged, as are proposals coming from female entrepreneurs. After the proposal evaluation period (June 1 – July 9, 2023), the finalists will be officially announced after July 15, 2023. The Innovation Challenge Award Ceremony will be held in autumn 2023.

Application: ISC3 Innovation Challenge 2023 in Sustainable Chemistry and Agriculture (

About ISC3

ISC3 is an international centre that fosters the transition of the chemical and chemical-related sectors to Sustainable Chemistry, promoting a circular economy that is striving to implement multifaceted aspects of sustainability at every step of the life cycle of products, and changing all stakeholder behavior. Therefore, the Centre takes a multi-stakeholder approach, targeting policy makers, the public and private sectors, academia and civil society. ISC3 contributes globally to international chemicals policy, develops professional and academic trainings, offers advisory services, fosters innovations, supports entrepreneurship and conducts research. The ISC3 is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and supported by Leuphana University Lüneburg as ISC3 Research & Education Hub and DECHEMA - Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DECHEMA e. V.) as ISC3 Innovation Hub. The Centre was founded in 2017 on the initiative of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Protection (BMUV, formerly BMU) and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).